A graffiti artist who caused £71,000 of damage to Thameslink, Southern and Southeastern trains has narrowly avoided a prison sentence. 

Josh Miller, 27, who goes by ‘Big Bill The Damager’, relentlessly sprayed tags and murals on the side of train carriages. 

Most commonly he sprayed the tag ‘SIKES’ or ‘TU’, which stands for the graffiti crew ‘The Untouchables’. 

Miller, of Richmond Road in Leytonstone, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of criminal damage between January 2019 and July 2021. 

Big Bill The Damager

On Friday (January 19) prosecutor Richard Sedgwick said Miller’s graffiti meant the carriages had to be temporarily removed from services. 

“The train operators policy is to remove the carriages from service immediately, as customers may be made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable in damaged carriages,” Mr Sedgwick said. 

Miller was linked to the crimes as officers had previously caught him at the scene of a graffiti which also said ‘SIKES’. 

Officers also found photos of the SIKES graffiti tag on an Instagram account called Big Bill The Damager. 

People wished ‘Big Bill’ happy birthday in the comment section on Miller’s birthday, and officers tracked the IP address to a flat he was previously renting. 

On December 1, 2021, he was arrested. 

Inside his home officers found sketch books where he’d practiced the ‘SIKES’ tag, as well as GoPro cameras with recordings of him tagging trains. 

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10 beers a day

A probation officer told the court that Miller has always aspired to work in art and design. 

But he began graffitiing during a time when he was abusing alcohol – drinking around 10 beers a day. 

He’s since been dry for three months and now works in a warehouse. 

Sentencing Miller, Judge Matthew Boyle said: “You are something of an established graffiti artist. You painted tags and murals on trains relentlessly. 

“But criminal damage in the form of graffiti is not a victimless crime. As well as the financial loss it causes, graffiti also degrades the urban environment we share.  

“It makes people uncomfortable or sometimes even unsafe. 

“You were selfishly prioritising your own artistic expression, or the attention it garnered on social media, over the rest of us.” 
He sentenced Miller to 18 months in custody, suspended for two years 

Judge Boyle also told him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. 

“It might, conceivably, involve cleaning up the antisocial behaviour of other people. That would be entirely fitting,” Judge Boyle said. 

“I’m giving you a chance here. It doesn't seem to me that someone with your life experience, your qualifications and your undoubted talent, should be before this court again. I hope you don’t prove me wrong on that.”